Logging Industry Workers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Logging workers usually need a high school diploma before they can be hired as full-time, entry-level workers. Those without diplomas can sometimes obtain part-time or helper positions. Because of increasing automation, workers with training in heavy equipment operation have the best chances for employment. Knowledge of electronics and mathematics also helps workers find and keep jobs.

You can prepare for this field by taking courses in agricultural subjects, botany, and mathematics, as well as shop courses teaching auto mechanics and power-tool usage.

Postsecondary Training

Most logging workers still learn their skills through on-the-job training. However, some vocational and technical schools offer courses or associate's degrees in general forestry, wildlife conservation, and forest harvesting, which will provide a helpful background. Large logging companies and trade associations offer special training programs, particularly on the operation of logging equipment. State forestry or logging associations often provide training sessions for fallers, whose job duties require more skill and expertise than most other logging work.

Other Education or Training

Continuing education classes and workshops are provided by national and state-level logging and forestry associations. For example, the Lake States Lumber Association offers classes in hardwood lumber grading, sawmill or dry kiln startup, and other topics. Contact organizations in your area for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Log graders and scalers are required, on a nationwide basis, to be certified. In order to be certified, individual must meet certain training requirements and pass an on-site field inspection that tests their skills. Although most states do not require other loggers to be certified, certain organizations of government, industrial, environmental, and trade groups (such as New York Logger Training, Inc.) sponsor programs to teach loggers forest ecology and how to practice ecologically sound logging. At least one state has mandated this form of logging certification, and several foresters are in the process of setting up similar certification programs.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

No prior experience is needed for entry-level positions, but those with experience are more likely to land jobs, earn higher pay, and be promoted.

Logging workers need to know how to drive logging vehicles and should have mechanical aptitude and coordination. Because machines now do most of the work, loggers no longer need exceptional strength. They must have alertness and stamina, however, and are frequently required to pass physical examinations before they are hired. They must be familiar with the character and potential dangers of the forest environment and the operation of logging machinery and equipment. The ability to take directions and remain cool in emergencies or dangerous situations is also essential for safety in the logging industry. Loggers must also be willing to undertake hard physical labor.